Buckeyes Not Pointing Fingers After Loss
By Brandon Castel
COLUMBUS, Ohio — There was plenty of blame to go around after Ohio State’s miserable showing against Miami this past weekend.
Certainly quarterback Joe Bauserman is going to get a lion’s share of the blame for his futile performance against the Hurricanes, but it takes a lot of things going wrong for an offense to stall the way it did under the lights at Sun Life Stadium.
“We didn't execute as a whole as a team. It was a team performance,” Bauserman said after the loss.
“It's a long season and we're ready to keep moving on and get better.”
That is easy for Bauserman to say; his play was directly responsible for the fact the Buckeyes did not get in the end zone in week three. In fact, they didn’t even convert a first down through the air until the final 30 seconds of the game.
It would be easy for the other players on offense to get frustrated over the play of their quarterbacks, if only they hadn’t had a hand in the offensive breakdown.
The Buckeyes would have had a first down through the air on their opening drive, but Chris Fields dropped a pass and Ohio State was forced to punt. Bauserman had another first down pass dropped by Verlon Reed, which killed what little momentum the Buckeyes had gained on offense.
“As a whole we have to do a better job,” OSU Head Coach Luke Fickell said.
“Some of those young guys are thrown into a position where we're asking them to step up and make some plays. Ultimately it comes down to doing it. They made a lot more plays than we made plays.”
Everyone made more plays than Bauserman, who completed only two of his 14 pass attempts for 13 yards. His misfired on what looked like a surefire touchdown pass to a wide open Jake Stoneburner in the end zone, but great receivers also know it’s their job to come up with a ball anywhere in their vicinity.
“I think that is the biggest one to people outside,” Fickell said of the quarterback play.
“I think stopping the run defensively is something that we have to do and we didn't defensively. There's a lot of blame to go around the whole team here but we're not going to blame each other.”
That would be easy to do after a game like this. If it was frustrating to watch, imagine being on the field. The game felt like it was within reach for 60 minutes, but the scoreboard never reflected that.
The closest Ohio State ever got was 14-6 after their second field goal by Drew Basil. They went to the locker room at halftime trailing by 11 points, and never scored in the second half.
Just about everyone was quick to blame that on Bauserman, but not his teammates.
“It's definitely not fair. This is a team game. One guy's performance is gonna control the entire outcome of a game,” right tackle J.B. Shugarts said.
“I don't think it's fair, but being in that leadership role as a quarterback, I think if they do put that on Joe, he'll take it how he needs to and just keep getting better from it.”
That is the mentality Fickell wants from all his players coming off the first loss of the season.
“We all feel bad, every single one of us in that locker room is looking in the mirror trying to figure out what it is we can do,” he said.
“We're not going to point the finger at anyone in particular.”
That’s easy for Fickell to say, he’s the coach. It’s his job to keep this team together, especially after everything they have been through. It has been one of the roughest off-seasons in school history, and it almost feels like something has to boil to the surface eventually.
This loss could have been the breaking point, but not with this group.
“We're gonna stick together. There's no sense in pointing fingers. We got a loss. We're gonna take it, and move on,” defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins said.
“We were just saying that we were all in, together. It wasn't all just on one person. We're gonna do what we gotta do, and we're gonna do it together.”
This team isn’t used to losing. Not like that. The loss to Miami was only the second the program has suffered since the 26-18 loss at Purdue in Oct. 2009. They Buckeyes closed out that season with six straight victories before rattling off a 12-1 season in 2010.
They are 20-2 in their last 22 games since the loss in West Lafayette, so this team obviously knows how to respond to a crushing defeat.
“I just think we need to keep fighting,” Shugarts said.
“A lot of guys out there showed a lot of fight. We've just got to move on. We've got to get ready for Colorado.”
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